One of the reasons Ryan asked me to become a contributor on this blog is that multiple authors bring multiple viewpoints and realms of experience. Most notably, Ryan is not exposed to the secular work environment most of us know so well (lucky dog!).
When considering what wisdom I can offer to fellow Christians from my unique career path, one observation comes immediately to mind. When you enter a new job or position, make an immediate effort to let everyone know you are a Christian. I offer myself as a case study:
My first job out of high school was a pretty sweet gig for a teenager. I was a call center representative for a video game company. I actually had a 13″ TV and a game console on my desk next to my computer to play between calls. Like I said… pretty sweet. I had no spiritual agenda when I started that job; I aimed to get to know the people, do my job, collect a paycheck, and start college. It all started out fine, but I noticed a problem as time went on. With each interaction with my coworkers, I pushed my “moral line” back a little bit. I laughed at the wrong jokes, I entertained gossip, etc… After about a year went by, I realized I had an image with my friends at work that was perfectly acceptable to them, but was not honoring to God. I felt ashamed of myself and I tried to keep my faith secret for fear of associating Christ with the unwholesome talk and attitudes I had been displaying.
My misery ended when I was laid off from the job. After four months of unemployment (and getting married!), I landed an exciting job in the dining industry. I flipped burgers for the local campus burger joint. Actually, I should clarify that I had to work my tail off to get promoted to the position of flipping burgers. While my surrounding were not nearly as comfortable, I reflect on the two years I spent serving food much more favorably than when I got to play “Mario” at work. Why?
The first thing I did was to make as many subtle, yet clear remarks about my faith. I would talk about my involvment in Church, read my Bible during breaks, and sing hymns to myself while working. While this did make me a target for jokes and jeers, it had an amazing benefit. Almost everyone at that place was an unbeliever and they watched me like a hawk. I knew that I was under intense scrutiny from them because they knew I was a believer. This kept me honest, cheerful, encouraging, and almost everything I wanted to be for Christ because I knew I couldn’t erase their first impression of who I was. It was wonderful.
Even more exciting was that after a while, I became the guy everyone came to when they had a question about God. I was the Bible guru! Many good conversations were had during 15 minute breaks and seeds were sown for salvation. I wrote about my favorite example (concerning homosexuality) on my old blog here.
If you need accountability at work, look no further than your unsaved colleagues. Tell them you’re a child of God and the mere knowledge that they are watching your every move will help keep you clean as a whistle. And if you have a saved coworker, latch on to them like glue. I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to have a fellow saint at work to talk to. God wants us to be light and salt, and sometimes the watchful eyes of pagans are just the thing to keep us bright and tasty… figuratively speaking.